:: This Goes Without Saying...Boston, MA ::

My collective impressions of the new controls.

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:: Cynical Nation
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:: Boston Dirt Dogs
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:: Fire Brand of the American League
:: El Guapo's Ghost
:: Yanks Fan vs. Sox Fan
:: The Bruins Report
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:: New England Sports Hub
:: Dunkin Donuts Talk
:: Over Fed Mind
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:: RockStar Mommy
:: Back of the Hill
:: Larry's Pointless Distractions
:: Slashdot
:: How to Make it in Life
:: Hawspipe
:: Insanity Now, Serenity Later
:: The Jaded New Englander
:: Gooseneck
:: Kamikaze Lunchbreak
:: People Who Deserve a Beatdown

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[::.. cast of characters ..::]

AL(al) n.
Narrator of highest note.

LORI(lohr-ee) n.
The girlfriend. Slightly bratty. Arachnophobe.

CHARLIE(chahr-lee) n.
A dieffenbachia plant spawn from the great Mother Charlie in Woods Hole, MA.

[::.. archive ..::]

:: Friday, June 27, 2003 ::

The weekend is almost here. Thank God. I'm heading to the Cape tonight so I can escape this wretched heat that's been plaguing New England. It's been topping out at 90+ since Monday in and around the Boston area. Yes, it was in the upper 50's last week. I'm hoping there's a sea breeze on the Cape to knock the mercury down 10 degrees or so.

The one good thing about my job is the Air Conditioning on every floor. My apartment has one room with AC, the bedroom. Lori has been hinting with the subtle force of a sledgehammer that she would like to get another AC unit for the rest of the apartment. I'm starting to agree with her. I don't want to upset the plants (again).

Today is Lori's birthday!! HAPPY BDAY LORI!!!

:: posted by Al on 6/27/2003 02:35:00 PM ::

:: Thursday, June 26, 2003 ::

It sucks being the "new guy". I don't know anyone, I don't know anything, I have no clue how to get around this place. I don't even have a desk or a phone yet.

Fun stuff.

:: posted by Al on 6/26/2003 08:49:00 AM ::

:: Sunday, June 22, 2003 ::

So tomorrow is my first day at my new job. I spent part of the weekend buying socks and dry cleaning shirts.

I feel like I'm 8 years old again and Monday is going to be my first day in 3rd Grade.

I hope my new lunchbox is cool enough.

I've got Chocolate Milk in the thermos.


:: posted by Al on 6/22/2003 09:38:00 PM ::

:: Friday, June 20, 2003 ::

Nice. Like that whole contest wasn't rigged or anything.

Shame, shame, shame.

:: posted by Charlie the Plant on 6/20/2003 10:55:00 AM ::

:: Thursday, June 19, 2003 ::

We have a winner!

Congratulations to Krissy Geishecker of Falmouth, Massachusetts! At around 8:45pm EST on Thursday 6/19/03 she became the 1000th visitor to our little blogsite!

Krissy receives a $.50 check and a two-hour on-site consultation with me, Al Davis, who will suggest many wonderful ways she can spend that hard earned money.

And thanks to the rest of you loyal readers who tried to be #1000. I appreciate your support and praise for our blogsite coverage. It was great to meet so many of you at our booth and our award-winning display during the 2003 Wiebe Fiesta in Woods Hole, MA last weekend.

Keep on truckin'.

:: posted by Al on 6/19/2003 08:58:00 PM ::

:: Wednesday, June 18, 2003 ::

My little Visitor Counter over to the lower left is getting ever-so close to the big 1000 mark.

Who's gonna be my 1000th visitor???

:: posted by Al on 6/18/2003 07:16:00 PM ::

:: Tuesday, June 17, 2003 ::


I had to break the news to the world here on my blog site because all of my regular Press contacts are all over in England reporting on some lame story that they have deemed more significant.

It's my luck that on the same day that I land a job English soccer star David Beckham gets traded to Real Madrid by Manchester United for a $41 million transfer fee.

I must say it's nice being paparazzi-free for the moment, even if it's only for a day.

:: posted by Al on 6/17/2003 07:27:00 PM ::

:: Wednesday, June 11, 2003 ::

Wow, what a night for Boston baseball. The Sox crush the Cardinals 13-1 and the Stankees get NO-HIT by Houston for the first time in 45 years. Relievers Pete Munro, Kirk Saarloos, Brad Lidge, Octavio Dotel and Billy Wagner all pitched at some point during the game to lead the Astros over the Yankees 8-0 Wednesday night.

The Yankees are in FREE-FALL at this point, it's beautiful!!!

:: posted by Al on 6/11/2003 10:51:00 PM ::

All of you lovely readers out there who have adverse reactions to my Blog entries that contain math or deal with sports may want to go to this Garfield site instead.

In baseball, the Slugging Percentage statistic was always one of those things I never fully understood. I bet I am not alone. I have taken it upon myself to school everyone on this integral subject. It should be fairly quick and relatively painless. -Al

--- --- --- ---

Consider the following hypothetical situation:
Two players, Dave and Al, each have a total 400 At Bats over the course of the season. Dave has 151 hits, all of them singles. Al has 150 hits, all of them home runs. Who would you rather have on your team?

Computing batting averages for Dave and Al:

Dave: 151/400 = 0.377

Al: 150/400 = 0.375

As you can see, Dave has the higher batting average hitting .377 but you know Al is the better hitter in terms of productivity and power(Al had 150 home runs in one season!). This indicates a major flaw in the use of batting average as a good metric and is the reason why the statistic called the slugging percentage was created.

Slugging percentage (SLG) is computed as follows: SLG% = Total Bases/At Bats

and is a little more complicated to compute. Slugging percentage not only considers the hits but the number of bases resulting from each hit.

151 singles results in 151 total bases so Dave had

SLG% = 151/400 = 0.377

the same number as his .377 batting average. Al had 150 home runs (more than double the MLB record, I might add), which at 4 bases per home run, resulted in 4(150) = 600 bases. So for Al

SLG% = 600/400 = 1.5

This shows how the players are distinguished significantly by the difference in their slugging percentage, and thereby establishing who you would want on your team. It's Al.

Like you needed the slugging percentage statistic to tell you that.

:: posted by Al on 6/11/2003 09:05:00 PM ::

:: Thursday, June 05, 2003 ::

With little or no fanfare, I begrudgingly wrapped up my multi-lingual "market research" job yesterday afternoon. I did what they wanted me to do, I took the text they gave me and translated that stupid online survey into French, Spanish, Swedish, and Dutch using the best of my analytical abilities.

Much to my amazement, they stated that I had successfully fulfilled the obligations that had been outlined in my contract. Somebody had even proofread some of them and said I had done a good job.

Go figure. Wie wist ik zo begaafd was?

:: posted by Al on 6/05/2003 04:18:00 PM ::

:: Monday, June 02, 2003 ::

Today I started a 3-day contract job at a Market Research firm in Cambridge. I must say it was a very interesting day of work, quite challenging, I can't say I've ever done this type of work before. Here's the story:

One of their current projects they're working on is an online survey form for the American Nephrology Nurses' Association so they can gather tons of information on Nephrology, which means they want to ask all kinds of questions to doctors who specialize in the the kidney and the urinary tract. Fascinating stuff, I'm sure.

For now only American doctors have been responding, but they really want to mine data on a larger, worldwide scale.

Believe it or not, this is where I come in.

So what they want me to do is to take this complex 52-page online survey form (laden with hundreds of embedded HTML objects and links to back-end databases, by the way) and actually translate the questions, automatic responses, and error messages from my native English into my non-native French, Swedish, Spanish, and Dutch so they can post these forms around the world and increase their information intake. I am not kidding you. Hmmm...I don't remember putting I spoke 5 languages on my resume...

To supposedly make this task easier for me they provided me with MS Word documents with all the English text on the survey translated into all the languages, and this beat-up Pentium II 300mhz Compaq PC. Ok, I thought, if all the stuff is already translated I might actually be able to do this processor-intensive work on this junky machine if I can keep it all organized. Let's start with the French survey, I know some basic French nouns and verbs, that should get me on the right path to success.

Funny thing is that when I got into the project I realized early on that the translated French data was not in the same order as the English form. Questions on one form were in different places on the other. Nice. And not all the data was translated. And a lot of the questions were practically identical except for one or two different itty-bitty little French words. And my supervisor could not be disturbed for hours because he was in a meeting. Great, and this was going to be the easy form.

A couple hours after I started I couldn't believe I was even attempting to do this, this was insane!!! I was swimming in 10,000 feet of water, 2000 miles from nearest dry land. I don't know French, what the hell was I doing here?!?!? I really felt as if I was on MTV's hidden-camera show, "Punk'd". I kept waiting for Ashton Kutcher to pop his head out and show me where all the secret cameras were. I tried to use an online French translation web site to tell me which questions were which, I think it helped a little, I'm pretty sure I finished the Francais Survey. Whoever proofreads that badboy is going to want to kick my ass.

I can't wait for tomorrow. I guess I'll tackle the Swedish form. I peeked at some of the translated Swedish text, it looks like a Scrabble game from hell: Lakemedelsboken anmaler nedanstaende foretag (that's an actual sentence, who knows what it says). If I expected my knowledge of the French language to help me out today, I am totally screwed tomorrow. I know even less Swedish then French, maybe 4 words at best, and that list includes: Volvo, ABBA, and IKEA. I don't know if that gibberish that the Swedish Chef says on the Muppett Show actually counts as the Swedish language, but maybe it'll come in handy. Oh, joy. Tomorrow is gonna be fun.

:: posted by Al on 6/02/2003 10:16:00 PM ::

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